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Here's what happens when you lose your phone

Updated on November 29, 2014

I must confess I’ve always thought one must be really stupid to lose one’s phone. I’ve never been negligent when it comes to my stuff and I have never lost any significant assets…until this year. Yes, it happens even to the most paranoid of us, to those who triple-check their pockets or handbags. Having your head in the clouds just one time is enough to make you want to rip your eyes out. I strongly suggest you leave your eyes where they are because you’ll need them to deal with those awful moments after losing something and also to look after your things more carefully in the future.

My story

My story began in March, at Caru’ cu bere (the translation for that would be something like The beer chariot). Although it sounds like the kind of place where one can also lose their consciousness due to alcohol intoxication, besides losing their phone, les connaisseurs know it’s not the case. After having lunch, I went to that magic place where a full bladder is anxious to arrive. It wasn’t the first time I took my phone with me to the bathroom, but once I got there, I realized I had no pockets to put it in while…you know, the bladder enjoyed its moment. That uninspired moment: putting my phone on top of the toiler paper support. Expectations: not forgetting about it a minute later. Reality: left it there. I went back to the table, paid the check and left the restaurant. After walking 10 meters, it hit me like a brick. I ran back like a cheetah, but it was in vain. The phone had gone missing. Doooh! My only hope was that the person who had found it would have given it to the restaurant staff. Yea, sure! I talked to all the waiters who hadn’t receive anything, obviously. One of them was kind enough to lend me his phone and try to call my number. No one answered and the phone was shut down eventually. The number you are trying to call is not reachable. Of course it’s not. I left the staff a number so that they could call me in case something changed. This is what happened to me. The story varies from case to case. For instance, it’s possible that yours doesn’t involve toilet paper supports, but the nature doesn’t change.

I couldn't have lost one of these

So, what can be done?

After a couple of minutes of despair, I vacuum-cleaned my thoughts and the result was the following: considering the fact that the phone was initially purchased by a company, I called the administrator – my dad, and asked him to handle the blocking thing. I also sent a decent text to my lost phone, something like I know you found this phone in the restaurant bathroom. Please contact me on the blabla number to return it. Otherwise, I am taking this matter to the Police. I found out later that my father had also sent a text. Although he hasn’t watched "I know what you did last summer" yet, his text sounded something like: I know who you are and what you did. I tracked the phone. I know where you are. Thanks, dad, quite useful. You don’t need to be highly educated in order to understand that the person who finds a lost device doesn’t automatically become its owner. While I was searching in my brain for criminal law courses regarding the property crime matter, I went to the nearest place where I could fiind Internet and changed all my passwords (Facebook, Yahoo, Gmail etc.). I ran into a police officer on my way there, who told me which district office I should go to. I stopped at a Vodafone store in order to obtain the phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity). Of course I couldn’t get it, because I needed a written mandate from the firm’s administrator. Anyway, I finally managed to get this IMEI, after yelling on the phone trying to explain to my father that I don’t need an e-mail, but an IMEI. I arrived at the Police station approximately one hour and a half later.

A friend of mine gave me a piece of advice: no one will take you seriously if you say you lost your phone. You have to insist. I went there acting as if it was a matter of life and death, but at the entrance I encountered an officer who looked and acted a lot like Grumpy cat. Mkey, what seems to be the problem? I gave him a summary of the facts and he told me: Young lady, it’s not theft. Your point being…? If you don’t usually deal with lost objects, you just need to use a sentence to make that clear. I told him: If it’s not theft, it’s larceny by finding, which is still a crime which you can find in our Criminal Code (Romanian Criminal Code). Ok. He made a call and told me to go to the fourth floor. I put a Bambi look on my face and sat on a chair in front of a young man who looked less grumpy. I told him the facts, indicating precisely the place, the time and all the other circumstances. It’s not the most enjoyable thing to explain someone how the toilet paper support looked and that it happened in the third toilet cabin on the left. At one point, he asked me what crime are we talking about, probably because he thought I acted like a smart-ass. I wasn’t inspired enough to make a point about the strong posibility of it qualifying as theft, but it’s probably for the best to let people do their job. Anyway, the guy was ok. I wrote what needed to be written and left satisfied because I did everything I could (actually, I could have also taken better care of my phone).

Have you ever lost your phone?

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I have never changed my phones like socks

Honestly, for a long time I wasn’t even interested in having one that is smarter than Kim Ung Yong, but, obviously, I lost the exact one for which I paid more money than I’d usually do. I don’t think people who lose their phones are stupid (not anymore), but I’m not as narcissistic as to think I wasn’t to blame at all. On the other hand, I don’t think people should consider it an invitation to make a lost good their own. Ironically, I think if it had been a cheap phone, no one would have touched it. Coming back to the distinction between theft and larceny by finding, the judicial practice has proven that the unattented good is not a lost one as long as the owner or possessor knows where he left it and he can always come back to get it, so it is considered that the victim has never lost its ownership or possession. So when someone who chances upon an object, which is in fact unattended and not lost, takes possession of the object and fails to take steps to return it to its owner, we are talking about theft. Taking into consideration the fact that I knew exactly where I had left my phone and returned 10 minutes later to take it back, I think the solution applies in this case as well.

When it comes to larceny by finding, in the Romanian criminal code the object which is found is the one that its owner or possessor lost (but did not abandon) and the founder of the object has no idea who this owner or possesor is. Nonetheless, the abandoned or unattended object is not the material object of larceny by finding, because this object still has an owner. Judicial practice has shown that taking possession of an umbrella which was forgotten by its owner in a store is considered to be theft. The same solution applies when someone takes possession of an object which is found on a restaurant table when its owner had moved to another table.

Moving on

Whether it is 228 or 243 C.code, it doesn’t really mater now. I didn’t get my phone back. Maybe we shouldn’t get too attached or even addicted to these devices. I remember that in March, after losing my phone, I said something like I feel like I’ve lost a leg. When I finally got back home, after all that mess, my neighbour who had one of his legs amputated greeted me with a large smile. Note to self: stop talking nonsense.


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